EUGENE, Ore. — A Eugene family is retracting their discrimination claim against a mall clothing store called rue21. This after the accusation went viral. Now both sides are saying it was all a misunderstanding. A little over a week ago a Eugene mom reached out to us because she wanted to get the word out on what her daughter recently went through. She said she let her daughter go shopping with a friend for her birthday at the Valley River Center mall for the first time without a parent.
“I walked in and the lady at the front counter said ‘Hey you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave,’” said 14-year-old Shelby Buster.
Her allegations were shared by news outlets from New York to the UK to Australia getting hundreds of thousands of clicks in just days. Headlines of a teen accusing a store of weight discrimination sparked debates on the internet and social media. Facebook users flooded rue21′s page accusing the company of corrupting a young woman’s self image, many even boycotted the store.
Before the story first broke, rue21 told us it was investigating the allegations and said its store does not tolerate discrimination. But now its investigation has wrapped up.
Rue21 says its findings show the employee had become a victim and was wrongfully accused this entire time.
In a joint press release sent out by the Buster family and the accused employee, Shelby claims that while she did have an exchange with someone in the store that day it wasn’t anyone who worked there. Although, the blame was put on a store manager also known by rue21 as an exemplary worker.
For days the Buster family denied our requests for a follow-up on-camera interview. They said in a written statement they wish they could take it all back, the TV interview, the accusatory statements they made on Facebook that all in turn made a hard-working employee an innocent scapegoat. And just as the original story went viral, the Busters hope their message of regret and remorse spreads too.
The Buster family and the rue21 store manager want people to know they have resolved this through much discussion, prayer and forgiveness.
The rue21 corporation says it wants to move forward too and focus on its business, which always welcomes diversity of its associates and customers.